Working and performance of three tire quasi judiciai mechanism for redressal of greviances of consumers in india
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Working and performance of three tire quasi judiciai mechanism for redressal of greviances of consumers in india Document Transcript

  • 1. Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol 2, No.4, 2012 Working and Performance of Three Tire Quasi Judiciai Mechanism for Redressal of Greviances of Consumers in India Dr. Mona Arora Assistant Professor, G G D S D College,Sector 32, Chandigarh. E Mail : drmonaarora2009@gmail.comAbstractThe issue relating to consumer welfare affects the entire population since everyone is a consumer in one way orthe other. To ensure the rights of consumers Consumer Protection Act 1986 has been enacted this act providesfor speedy and inexpensive redressal to the grievances of the consumers and provide him relief and awardcompensation where appropriate the most important feature of the act is provision for setting up a three tire quasijudicial machinery popularly known as consumer courts at district state and national levels the purpose of thisarticle is to make the reader aware of the judicial mechanism working for the redressal of the grievances ofconsumers in India.IntroductionIn Kautilaya’s Arthshastra, there are references to the concept of consumer protection against exploitation by thetrader and industry, short weight and measures adulteration and punishment for these offences. However, therewas no organized and systematic movement actually safeguarding the interest of consumers. Prior toIndependence main laws under which consumer interest were considered were IPC, Grading and Marketing Act1937, Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 etc. Even though different parts of India exhibited different levels ofawareness, in general, the level of awareness was pretty low. The Indian legal system experienced a revolution with the enactment of CPA, 1986, which was specificallydesigned to protect the consumers interest. The act extends to whole of India except the state of J & K section 1clause (2). Consumer Protection Act defines consumer as one who purchases goods and services for his or her use. Theuser of such goods and services with the permission of buyer is also a consumer. However, a person is not aconsumer if he purchases goods and services for resale purpose. The special feature of this act is to: 1. Provide speedy and inexpensive redressal to the grievances of the consumer and provide him relief of specific nature and award compensation where appropriate. 2. To ensure the rights of the consumer, viz, the right of choice, safety, information rederssal public hearing and consumer education. The most important feature of the act under section 9 is the provision for setting up a three tire QuasiJudicial Machinery popularly known as “Consumer Courts” at District, State and National Levels. The Quasi Judicial machinery is required to observe the principle of natural justice. They areempowered: a) To give relief of specific nature b) To award wherever appropriate compensation to consumers. Non compliance of orders of these bodies is subject to Penalties. Establishment of Consumer Disputes Redressal Agencies: There shall be established for the purposes of this Act, the following agencies, namely:— a) Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to be known as the "District Forum" established by the State Government in each district of the State by notification: Provided that the State Government may, if it deems fit, establish more than one District Forum in a district. b) Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to be known as the "State Commission" established by the State Government in the State by notification; and c) National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission established by the Central Government by notification. 45
  • 2. Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol 2, No.4, 2012District ForumSection 10 (1): Composition of the District Forum Each District Forum shall consist of,— (a) a person who is, or has been, or is qualified to be a District Judge, who shall be its President; (b) two other members, one of whom shall be a woman, who shall have the following qualifications, namely:— (i) be not less than thirty-five years of age, (ii) possess a bachelors degree from a recognized university, (iii) be persons of ability, integrity and standing, and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration:Section 11: Jurisdiction of the District Forum Pecuniary Jurisdiction of the District Forum: The District Forum shall have jurisdiction to entertain complaints where the value of the goods or servicesand the compensation, if any, claimed does not exceed rupees twenty lakhs.Territorial Jurisdiction: A complaint shall be instituted in a District Forum within the local limits of whose jurisdiction: (a) The opposite party or each of the opposite parties, where there are more than one, at the time of the institution of the complaint, actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or has a branch office or personally works for gain, or (b) The cause of action, wholly or in part, arises.State CommissionSection 16: Composition of the State Commission (a) A person who is or has been a Judge of a High Court, appointed by the State Government, who shall be its President: (b) There shall be not less than two, and not more than such number of members, as may be prescribed, and one of whom shall be a woman, who shall have the following qualifications, namely:— (i) be not less than thirty-five years of age; (ii) possess a bachelors degree from a recognised university; and (iii) be persons of ability, integrity and standing, and have adequate knowledge and experience of at least ten years in dealing with problems relating to economics, law, commerce, accountancy, industry, public affairs or administration:Section 17: Jurisdiction of the State CommissionA) Monetary Jurisdiction To entertain the complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimedexceeds rupees twenty lakhs but does not exceed rupees one crore;B) Appellate Jurisdiction Appeals against the orders of any District Forum within the State but no appeal by the person who has beenrequired to pay any amount by an order of District Forum shall be entertained unless he has deposited 50% of theamount or Rs 25000/- which ever is less.C) Supervisory Or Revisional Jurisdiction 46
  • 3. Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol 2, No.4, 2012 To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or hasbeen decided by any District Forum within the State, where it appears to the State Commission that such DistrictForum has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested or hasacted in exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity. Section 17A Transfer of cases On the application of the complainant or of its own motion, the State Commission may, at any stage of theproceeding, transfer any complaint pending before the District Forum to another District Forum within the Stateif the interest of justice so requires.National CommissionSection 20: Composition of the National Commission The National Commission shall consist of : — (a) a person who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court, to be appointed by the Central Government, who shall be its President; Provided that no appointment under this clause shall be made except after consultation with the Chief Justice of India; (b) There shall be not less than four, and not more than such number of members, as may be prescribed, possessing, the qualifications as are prescribed for the member of the state commission.Jurisdiction of the National CommissionMonetary Jurisdiction To entertain complaints where the value of the goods or services and compensation, if any, claimedexceeds Rupees one crore Appellate Jurisdiction It can entertain the appeals against the orders of any State Commission but no appeal by the person who hasbeen required to pay any amount by an order of State Commission shall be entertained unless he has deposited50% or the amount of Rs 35000/- which ever is less.Supervisory Or Revisional Jurisdiction To call for the records and pass appropriate orders in any consumer dispute which is pending before or hasbeen decided by any State Commission where it appears to the National Commission that such StateCommission has exercised a jurisdiction not vested in it by law, or has failed to exercise a jurisdiction so vested,or has acted in the exercise of its jurisdiction illegally or with material irregularity.Section 15: Appeal to State Commission Any person aggrieved by an order made by the District Forum may prefer an appeal against such order tothe State Commission within a period of thirty days from the date of the order, in such form and manner as maybe prescribed: Provided that the State Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty daysif it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period. Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of theDistrict Forum, shall be entertained by the State Commission unless the appellant has deposited in the prescribedmanner fifty per cent. of that amount or twenty-five thousand rupees, whichever is less:Section l9: Appeal to National Commission Any person aggrieved by an order made by the State Commission in exercise of its powers conferred bysub-clause (i) of clause (a) of section 17 may prefer an appeal against such order to the National Commissionwithin a period of thirty days from the date of the order in such form and manner as may be prescribed: Provided that the National Commission may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirtydays if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period. 47
  • 4. Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol 2, No.4, 2012 Provided further that no appeal by a person, who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order ofthe State Commission, shall be entertained by the National Commission unless the appellant has deposited in theprescribed manner fifty per cent. of the amount or rupees thirty-five thousand, whichever is less:Section 23: Appeal to Supreme court of India Any person, aggrieved by an order made by the National Commission in exercise of its powers conferred bysub-clause (i) of clause (a) of section 21, may prefer an appeal against such order of the Supreme Court within aperiod of thirty days from the date of the order: Provided that the Supreme Court may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of thirty days ifit is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period. Provided further that no appeal by a person who is required to pay any amount in terms of an order of theNational Commission shall be entertained by the Supreme Court unless that person has deposited in theprescribed manner fifty per cent. of that amount or rupees fifty thousand, whichever is less.Section 24: Finality of orders Every order of a District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall, if no appeal hasbeen preferred against such order under the provisions of this Act, be final.Section 24-A: Limitation period The District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission shall not admit a complaint unless itis filed within two years from the date on which the cause of action has arisen. Provided that a complaint may be entertained after the specific period, if the complainant satisfies theDistrict Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case may be, that he had sufficientcause for not filing the complaint within such period: Provided that no such complaint shall be entertained unless the National Commission, the StateCommission or the District Forum, as the case may be, records its reasons for condoning such delaySection 27: Penalties Where a trader or a person against whom a complaint is made or the complainant fails or omits to complywith any order made by the District Forum, the State Commission or the National Commission, as the case maybe, such trader or person or complainant shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not beless than one month but which may extend to three years, or with fine which shall not be less than two thousandsrupees but which may extend to ten thousand rupees, or with both.Section 14: Nature of Remedies Under the Act In case of the goods complained against suffer from any of the defects specified in the complaint or that anyof the allegations contained in the complaint about the services are proved, the District/ State / NationalCommission shall issue an order to the opposite party directing him to do one or more of the following things,namely: (a) to remove the defect pointed out by the appropriate laboratory from the goods in question; (b) to replace the goods with new goods of similar description which shall be free from any defect; (c) to return to the complainant the price, or, as the case may be, the charges paid by the complainant; (d) to pay such amount as may be awarded by it as compensation to the consumer for any loss or injury suffered by the consumer due to the negligence of the opposite party. (e) to remove the defects in goods or deficiencies in the services in question; (f) to discontinue the unfair trade practice or the restrictive trade practice or not to repeat it; (g) not to offer the hazardous goods for sale; (h) to withdraw the hazardous goods from being offered for sale; (i) to provide for adequate costs to parties 48
  • 5. Developing Country Studies www.iiste.orgISSN 2224-607X (Paper) ISSN 2225-0565 (Online)Vol 2, No.4, 2012Conclusion The success of consumer movement mainly depends on the level of consumer awareness generated in thecountry by educating the consumers about their rights and responsibilities. These are coupled with effectivefunctioning of consumer Forums throughout the country where the consumers can ultimately assert their rights inseeking redressal. Where the literacy rate is high and social awareness is greater, the consumers cannot be easilyexploited. Some of the important measures taken by the Govt. to generate consumer awareness Jago Grahak Jagoweekly radio program, Video Programmes Grahak Dost, Quarterly magazine Upbhokta Jagaran, NewspaperAdvertisements etc. In spite, of the enactment of various Laws for protecting the consumer, there has been no effective deterrentagainst the production and sale of spurious goods which continue to flood the markets. The greatest weapon inthe hands of consumers is the mass media newspapers Televisions radios are playing the supportive role inmaking the consumer movement a success. it is hope that in years to come the consumer movement in countrywhich is young would gather the desired movement and strength . To reiterate, it the consumer who has to playthe predominant role. The state and mass media can play only a supportive role.References: Aggarwal Meenu, [ed.] 2006, Consumer Behavior And Consumer Protection Act in India. Bare Act, 1986, Consumer Protection Act. Goganna PPS 2009 Mercantile Laws S Chand Publications. Majumdar PK, 1995 Law of Consumer Protection in India Pandit Shobha and Pandit MS, 1986, Conceptual Analyses of Consumer Protection Act. Singh Avtar, Elements of Mercantile Law. 49
  • 6. This academic article was published by The International Institute for Science,Technology and Education (IISTE). The IISTE is a pioneer in the Open AccessPublishing service based in the U.S. and Europe. The aim of the institute isAccelerating Global Knowledge Sharing.More information about the publisher can be found in the IISTE’s homepage:http://www.iiste.orgThe IISTE is currently hosting more than 30 peer-reviewed academic journals andcollaborating with academic institutions around the world. Prospective authors ofIISTE journals can find the submission instruction on the following page:http://www.iiste.org/Journals/The IISTE editorial team promises to the review and publish all the qualifiedsubmissions in a fast manner. All the journals articles are available online to thereaders all over the world without financial, legal, or technical barriers other thanthose inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. Printed version of thejournals is also available upon request of readers and authors.IISTE Knowledge Sharing PartnersEBSCO, Index Copernicus, Ulrichs Periodicals Directory, JournalTOCS, PKP OpenArchives Harvester, Bielefeld Academic Search Engine, ElektronischeZeitschriftenbibliothek EZB, Open J-Gate, OCLC WorldCat, Universe DigtialLibrary , NewJour, Google Scholar